5/31/06 at Shea Stadium

The bottom of the second inning ended with a flyout to Diamondbacks center fielder Eric Byrnes. While the ball was in midair, I raced past the ushers and down the steps to the 3rd base dugout. I squeezed into the first row. I was the only fan with either a Diamondbacks hat or a glove. Byrnes approached on my left, ball in hand. I shouted his name. He instantly ticket5.31.06.jpgspotted me and underhanded the ball to me. As I reached out for it, the man on my left stood up and snatched it right in front of my glove. It was THAT kind of night. At least I only paid $5 to get in.

Thirteen minutes after Shea had opened for batting practice, Carlos Beltran lined a home run into the right field Loge level. That’s my spot. Normally, it’s empty for the first 45 minutes. Normally, I can waltz over and pick up such a ball. But on this day–because the Mets are in 1st place and because Pedro Martinez was facing the undefeated Brandon Webb–there were already a dozen other fans in the section. No ball for me.

Later, on the left field side, I had the Loge to myself while Orlando Hernandez was standing down below. Of course, no one hit a single ball his way. Ten minutes later, two kids showed up out of nowhere, and the batter hit the next ball into the corner. I shouted at El Duque. The kids shouted, too. They didn’t even have gloves. Guess who got the ball.

Right before the game, I went down to the Diamondbacks’ dugout to try to get a ball from the players who were doing some last-minute throwing. Just before they finished, a security guard recognized me and made me leave. (Dear Mets management: this is getting old.)

PedromartinezBrandonwebbIn the first inning, I wanted to grab one of the few empty seats behind the main aisle on the 3rd base side, but I held off because people were still arriving. Two minutes later, Chad Tracy fouled a high, lazy pop-up that landed RIGHT in the aisle where I would’ve been sitting. No one else even stood up to catch it, so I watched from the concourse behind home plate as the ball smacked the concrete and bounced deep into the seats.

In the 10th inning, I was back up in the Loge, hiding at the wrong end of my favorite section from an usher who’d kicked me out last time I was there. I wanted to slip into one of the empty seats at the end of the row, but the usher was standing nearby in the runway. I stayed out of sight and was plotting my move when Endy Chavez hit a foul tip to the EXACT seat where I wanted to be.

There were so many frustrating moments that on several occasions, I was tempted to leave and go home. The reason why I stayed is that I wanted to witness the much hyped pitchers’ duel. (Contrary to popular belief, I actually do enjoy watching baseball.) And what a duel it was.

Final score in 13 innings:
Mets 1, Diamondbacks 0


Did I get shut out? Hell no, but it was a slow day. Back when I was in the RF Loge, Billy Wagner threw me a ball from the warning track, and Steve Trachsel tossed one from the bullpen. Then, when the Mets finished BP, I got three balls at their dugout within a 30-second span. Jerry Manuel tossed me the first one (pictured here with the strange markings), and I got the other two so fast that I instantly forgot who gave me the second one. The third came from some BP assistant-type guy who’s not listed on the roster. I managed to snag one more ball–my sixth of the day–during the entire Diamondbacks’ batting practice. I was up in the Loge in left field and got it thrown by Luis Vizcaino. Ooh.

Fabulous game.
Forgettable balls.

My best snagging took place during the seventh-inning T-Shirt launch. YEAH BABY!!!



• 73 balls in 9 games this season = 8.1 balls per game.

• 436 consecutive games with at least one ball

• 62 consecutive games with at least two balls

• 2,825 total balls


  1. Jason

    Man, you’re even snagging those T-shirts! You the man.

    Speaking of T-shirts, where did you get the MLB logo tee you were sporting on the Main Blog page yesterday? I’ve been trying to find those for over 2 years. I’ve tried searching online, but when you type in “MLB logo t-shirt” into google, all you get are team shirts. Any help would be appreciated!



  2. Zack

    Thanks. :-)

    I usually get a couple of those launch-shirts per season. They’re always shot/thrown into the same sections. I’m sure I could get a lot more if THAT were my goal.

    As for the MLB logo shirt, I bought that from a minor league pitcher (named Tim Schilling…no relation to Curt) about six years ago. He was friends with someone at my college, and I saw the shirt and had to have it. He didn’t want to part with it because it was something he received on his first day in pro ball, so I kept raising my offer, and finally, I got the shirt for $40 AND an autographed copy of my book. Tim literally gave me the shirt off his back and ended up wandering around topless for a few hours.

    Because I don’t have a favorite team, I love clothing with the generic MLB logo…but for some reason, it’s really hard to find. I just don’t know what to tell you. Sorry.

  3. Jason

    Interesting that he got on his first day of pro ball. I have a friend whose brother is the closer for the AA Erie Sea Wolves (Tigers). He had the logo on a hooded sweatshirt, which he got from his brother. He didn’t know where he got it though. Maybe it’s a special thing. I’ve only seen it 1 other time and that was at Jacobs Field 3 years ago and I’ve been looking ever since.


  4. Zack

    Who? Chris Homer? Or John Ennis? That’s cool. I don’t know ANYone in pro ball. It’s really a shame.

  5. Zack

    I have two jobs:

    1) I write for the Minor League Baseball web site.


    2) I do web stuff (and other things) for the Argosy Book Store here in NYC. Very cool place. Huge autograph department, including lots of sports items.


    I also write books on the side. My first one sold in 1999, and the second one is about to be sent to publishers.

  6. drosenda@msn.com

    Hey Z,

    It’s been a while since Tuesday, when I went to Ameriquest. I’ll give you a quick result, and an interesting topic for you and any commenters/readers. I got 4 balls, 2 with the pickup device, one from an obscure coach from the Mariners (shagging BP, I called out “DAN, DAN ROHN, and he fired me the ball without hesitation). I also got a bouncer that went over my head, bounced off seats, went behind me, and I stabbed at it with my glove. Here’s the topic for comments or stories: have you ever had a ‘shagging battle’? Where you and another person are close to a ball, even both having your hands or glove on it?

    I stabbed at this ball, and this fatso (not kidding, about 300 pounds) was laid out in the row grabbing at it. We both had possession, but I had better position, and wrenched it away. Now, if this was a kid, I’m obviously giving the ball up. But this chubby jerk was like talking **** to me, “hey man it’s mine”. I was like “we’ll see”. When I wrenched it away, he was like “you won’t get the next one”. I wanted to say “yeah, well don’t eat me”.

    Anyone have a good ‘ball battle’ story?

  7. thechuckster8@aol.com

    Bad day at Shea today. I got to gate C at about 3:45, then waited around for about 2 hours before being told the game was cancelled. UGH.

  8. Jason

    Hey Zack-

    Chris Homer. I wouldn’t say we’re buddies. I’ve met him once. I know his brother. We saw him a month ago. We all went golfing, had some lunch and caught the game. It was cool b/c we got to see him pitch. He’s had a rough go of it this year but was lights out that night. He got us team signed balls which were pretty cool.



  9. Zack

    That is a *hilarious* story. When I get my hand on a ball and someone else tries to grab it, there is absolutely NO way that he (or she…let’s not be sexist) will be able to steal it from me. It’s never happened. What can I say…I magically develop superhuman strength. Along those lines, I would be able to grab baseballs out of other people’s hands, but I’ve never done it. I’m very fair. If I get my hands on a ball first, it’s gonna be mine. Period. But if another guy gets there first, even by one-tenth of a second, I’ll let go and let him have it. ONE time, however, at Comiskey Park, I got my hand on a foul ball at the SAME time as this other guy. I would’ve tugged it from him but I just felt bad, so I convinced him that we should flip a coin to determine ownership. He won. It was a gamer hit by Frank Thomas. It would’ve been my 15th ball of the day, which would’ve broken my then-record. I’m still upset.


    I feel your pain. I used to go to games regardless of the weather, and that c-rap happened to me at least a few times per season.


    I’m officially jealous.

  10. ramones18@cox.net

    6 balls, but no autos? i wonder what your streak was up to this game on that

  11. Zack

    You’re talking about an autograph streak? I never thought about keeping track. I’ll leave it up to you, if you’re so inclined, to comb through my old entries and come up with some stats. Otherwise, I’m afraid we’ll never know…

  12. thechuckster8@aol.com

    Just wondering, where is the best place to stand to catch a shirt? I really want one. PS-What would my CPB be if my parents pay for my ticket and give me a metrocard and money for food everytime I go?

  13. Jason

    No Zack, I’m the jealous one. You get to go to a lot of games and get paid to write about baseball. But it is cool to know a pro.

    Speaking of autographs, I just created a photo album of my autographed baseballs, 75 in total. I get a lot at games. Your stories kind of make me think of mine when it comes to getting signatures.



  14. Zack

    The two best times/places are:

    1) 5th inning…The aisle in the Loge directly behind 1st or 3rd base. (The T-Shirt shooters like to aim for the luxury boxes, and the shirts often miss and hit the facade and drop down.)

    2) 7th inning stretch…The aisle on the Field Level directly behind the dugouts. (Members of the Pepsi Party Patrol will stand there and throw shirts into the crowd. The guys try to show off and reach the Loge. The girls often throw ’em just far enough to reach the aisle.)


    I have company right now, so I’ll check out that album later. I love stuff like that. Perhaps our respective jealousies will cancel each other out.

  15. bergin42@msn.com

    hey zack..boy did i have a crappy night tonight..brewers nationals, damian miller bobblehead night… i got a retro damian miller bobble head (5,000 of 40,000) and one baseball, i dont try to get baseballs much but i get stand in line for and hour or two to get autographs on cards and balls and not one friggen national signed…after that **** i had my umpire bios ready and by my side when homeplate umpire tony randazzo came out i congratulated him on 7 years and he handed me a ball.as for the game doug davis pitched a gem, then turnbow blew a 2 run job from brian schnieder and the brewers screwed the pooch..so i stuck around at the players parking lot and got ned yost, carlos lee, and doug davis’ autographs for the 20th time..worst game of my life….next game 19th indians @ brewers

  16. Zack

    Kissing up to the umpires! What a CLEVER idea! I’ve never considered that, or even heard of it, or anything…so congrats. Wow. I love it. Sorry your night, as a whole, didn’t turn out better. The Expos used to be one of the nicest teams, but the Nationals have suddenly turned rude. Carlos Lee is nothing to spit at, even if you’ve gotten him 20 times. Better luck with the Indians…

  17. jimmyjoejoejrchabadu@hotmail.com


    Check this out on my friends site. Its a video of us abusing our friend with Roman Candles after he lost a prank war with me. Realted to baseball you might ask? – Of course, we did it in a baseball diamond. http://www.inadamsworld.com

    Also any plans on heading up north?

  18. jimmyjoejoejrchabadu@hotmail.com


    Forgot to ask how do you know what ump will be officiating what game cause theres tons of umps and wouldn’t that make ******* up to umps kind of hard?

  19. Zack

    I saw the trivia.

    I saw your spheroid (and left you a comment on it).

    I saw your response to my response (and left you a response).



    Same goes for your blog and the Jeter clip.


    Unfortunately, the same does not apply to you. The video wouldn’t load because of some “codec” error. I have no plans to come up north. I need to hit up all (two of) the ballparks I haven’t been to before I start revisiting my favorites. As for the umps…



    Nice autographs! Kate Brownwell is my favorite. Where’d you meet her?

  20. jimmyjoejoejrchabadu@hotmail.com

    Is there any way you can find out if a particular ump will be refereeing the game before hand?

  21. Zack

    Well, the same four umps work each series…so, like, if you’re seeing the the Jays/Twins on a Wednesday, for example, and those teams are playing on Monday and Tuesday, just look and see which umps are working those first two games. Make sense?

  22. Nick

    Do the umpires rotate positions within the series?
    Home to first… first to second… et cetera

  23. yanksfan61293@aol.com

    I have a “Baseball Snagging video game question”, Zack.

    Do you mind if I use your name and maybe a picture (the only people that will likely have a copy are you and me)…

    If you want details about what your character would be, you would be the “elite” level, THE guy to unlock.


  24. Zack

    Yeah, they rotate. I’m not sure what the pattern is, but you could figure it out just by looking at the box scores.



  25. Zack

    Not ’til next week, at the earliest. At this very second, I’m working on another one of those “State of the Union” entries that’ll touch on it…

  26. ramones18@cox.net

    i mighty actually be headed to an angels game soon, they have a 9day home stretch started 6/9

  27. Zack

    That’s a TOUGH stadium. Big crowds. No special sections where you can go to get an advantage over anyone else. So…good luck!

  28. ramones18@cox.net

    weird how u got more comments on your “stuff” post than thing article

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